Friday, April 26, 2013

Fun Friday - Author Interview with Josh Donellan

I reviewed 'Zeb and the Great Ruckus' by Josh Donellan sometime back here on my blog and this book is now among my favorite reads for all ages. This is one other book I have added to the few books I recommend to everyone. You can find my review of the book here. My ten-year old also has this book on his read-again-many-times list now! I believe he has already read it through twice fully and is looking forward to his third read of the book.

That is why I was so excited when Josh agreed to do an interview with me a couple of months ago and then he was so gracious and patient with me when I took these two months to actually send him the questions which he answered promptly. This list of questions is from my ten-year old and me for Josh and his answers qualified this interview for my Friday post! I am sure you will enjoy reading his answers as much as we did..

And be sure to pick up his books here.

So here is Josh Donellan:

Where do you get your cool ideas? You mention an idea-factory:) How can I build one for myself?
I like to joke that I have a team of gnomes that I keep in a basement that just churn out ideas for me like the Oompa Loompas in Willy Wonka's Chocolate factory. However, the truth is that there isn't any one source, but I do like to say that as a writer 'everything is research.' Every experience, happy or sad, positive or negative, adds to the palette of emotions that you can draw from and the possible sources of inspiration.

In the case of Zeb many of the ideas came from things that my kid brother and the kids I teach had said or done. I'm always inspired and enthralled by the way that kids relish and thrive on new experience, treating life like it’s a great big bowl of ice cream to be eagerly devoured. There’s a lot to be learnt from that. The other day a kid told me my next book should be ‘More funnier and have Dr. Who in it.’ I can probably work on the first part, not so sure about the second…

What is your favorite color? Do you prefer the sunshine yellows or the muddy browns or other parts of the spectrum?
I love forest greens. I live in Queensland and am lucky enough to be surrounded by trees and rainforest. These are colours I associate with growth, optimism and adventure.


What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
It hasn’t been invented yet, but if someone could make an ice cream that takes like ‘Fond Memories of a Summer’s Day Listening to Hendrix and Swimming With Friends’ that would be my favourite ever.

What languages do you speak? Do you speak Hindi?
I can speak enough Spanish to have a simple conversation, and I know just a handful of words and phrases in Hindi. India is one of my favourite places in the world, although I haven’t seen half as much of it as I would like.

What is the question you hope people will ask you in interviews? Which one is the question you dread?
I find that children often ask better questions than adults. Grown ups often want to know about motivation, the details of getting published, my approach to structure etc. All the mechanical stuff. I usually don’t enjoy those questions because you can’t really answer them without going into long, tedious detail. Kids just want to get to the juicy heart of things. I think my favourite question ever has been when a kid yelled at me ‘ARE ALEPHS REAL WHERE DO THEY LIVE I WANT TO GET ONE AND HAVE IT AS A PET AND NAME IT SAMANTHA AND DANCE WITH IT EVERY DAY.’

Who is your favorite character from Zeb? Mine is Flip and my son loves Zeb.
Will Zeb have another adventure?

Of course I’m very fond of Zeb, but Smokey Waters is very special to me, as he is loosely based on Robert Johnson, the enigmatic godfather of the blues. That said, Flip is really a delight. I think my favourite individual lines of dialogue are all Flip quotes.

I have had a few kids demand a sequel, but I think I’ll move on to other things. My next novel will be for adults, that should be out at the end of the year, and then I have loose plans to write a very strange and ridiculous kids’ book with the working title Jennifer B. Cellardoor: the Strangest Girl You Ever Saw. I think there aren’t enough great female leads in children’s literature at the moment and I’d like to add one to the ranks.


You can find out more about him on his webpage.

Friday Memes:
I have two books today for Book Beginnings: and The Friday 56: – 
The first book is ‘Zeb and the Great Ruckus’  which I have featured before on these two and again today. You will get a glimpse of why we love Zeb.

The beginning captured my interest totally. Here it is for you to enjoy as well:
“This is a story made from pieces of all the dreams that you had when you were asleep, but then forgot when you woke up. Some of the most brilliant ideas occur in dreams: songs, poems, stories, inventions.”

On Page 56, I found this fun snippet to share:
“He knows even? Even what? Even numbers? Odds or evens? Evangeline the baker’s daughter? Oh Zeb, don’t make me guess, you know I’m no good at guessing games.”

And the second book I am featuring is one I just started reading today, 'Twerp' by Mark Goldblatt that I received from NetGalley

The Beginning has me wondering what happened over winter recess:
'My English teacher, Mr.Selkirk, says I have to write something, and it has to be long, on account of the thing that happened over winter recess - which, in my opinion, doesn't amount to much.'

And on Page 56, this made me curious:
'I wish what happened to Danley didn't happen. But it did happen, and it's not like I'm losing sleep over it. You want to know what I'm losing sleep over?'

For Five Minute Fridays, the topic this week is Friend.
GO...
My friends hold a special place in my heart. When I talking about friends here today, I am talking about those outside of family who have now become so much a part of my life, not necessarily in person, that I consider them family.
My best friend from elementary school and I are still very close. She is not much of a writer or a social media person, so we do not end up chatting that very often at all. But when we do meet, once every year or more, when I make a trip back to India, where she stays with her lovely family, it is as if all that time apart did not matter one bit, and we are back in that level of comfort and closeness we had all those years ago somehow become stronger with years.
Friends I made in later years, in college, are also the ones I lean on even today during times when I need a shoulder and the ones I plan my adventures with - the years in college were both filled with fun adventures as well as tough (not too tough though) times - and our friendship has strengthened over the years.
Finally, I have the friends I made more recently, and they are the ones I interact with almost daily - they are the ones I discuss my every moment of every day with - nothing is too hard to share with them.
These are all my ...friends.
STOP..

For My Friday Flash 55
Cosby and Me
There he was, Cosby,
bantered with the lady near me
“Why not me?”
Alas, it was not to be
During this evening of comedy
Scene – us - a little later –
Coffee shop in the corner
In walks Cosby Jr.
Imparted these words of wisdom to hubby dear
‘A wife is always right, this - you remember’


The backstory on this photo - this photo is really me with Bill Cosby - almost 15 years ago - during my first visit to Vegas with DH. We had booked tickets to Bill Cosby's show, got wonderful seats in the orchestra pit and Mr.Cosby walked right up to me during the show and as part of something he was talking about, bantered with the lady seated next to me. I was so hopeful it would have been me - I had been in the US for just a few months by then and watching Cosby reruns as well 'Kids Say the Darnedest things' meant I really admired him.
Well, the show got over too soon. We went to a little coffee shop located in the same casino in Vegas where the show was. As we were having our coffee, who walked in but Mr.Cosby himself! The doors of the shop were shut behind him by security to prevent more people from walking in but they let the few customers who were inside, including us, stay inside. He had come in to thank the staff at the shop for having made his stay there at the hotel great! So it came to be that we had a up, close, and personal chat with him. He was so wonderful - he chatted with us like he had known us for years, and yes, he did tell DH those words up there in the poem - 'A wife is always right!'

NOTE: I have lots of visiting planned - on the blog world over the weekend:) and I am enjoying reading the comments and reading everyone's contributions to the various memes.. And I am still catching up from earlier this week on everyone's posts on all the memes I participate in. 
 

4 comments:

  1. Awesome five minute friday post.

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  2. Great photo of you and Mr. Cosby!

    Love both books snippets.

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  3. Lady In Read!!
    Welcome back, and like me, better late than never!
    Loved your 55
    And I loved your Cosby back story.
    Thanks for playing, and have a Kick Ass Week!!

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  4. OMG awesome picture.
    Great story.
    I always knew he was a pretty smart dude.

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Love to hear from you! I do read all your comments and do reply whenever I can.. but I will definitely hop on over to visit you...